Growing up I seriously disliked going to church. Not because of any religious beliefs but because what kid wants to wake up early on the weekend, put on a dress and tights and sit on an uncomfortable wooden bench with a bunch of adults? Not this one.
The one redeeming quality that church had going for it (in my little kid opinion) were the free donuts. After mass everyone would be invited to a banquet hall for coffee and donuts. Free donuts. Every kids fantasy. Basically I would sit in church dreaming of how many donuts I could stuff in my face before I got in trouble and which ones I would choose.
I am pretty sure this is where my love of donuts was born. But for the record any fried dough works for me. Remember elephant ears (or funnel cakes) at the fair? Incredible.
So in an effort to be able to whip up fried dough whenever I want, I thought I would attempt to make donuts from scratch.
These donuts were actually pretty easy to make as long as you plan ahead for the dough to rise in the fridge (overnight) and are not afraid of dunking them in hot oil (get a digital thermometer to make your life easier). I decided to make vanilla and chocolate pastry cream for the middle but you could add anything store bought or homemade like lemon curd, icing or a jam of some-sort. Also – you can adapt this recipe to create the traditional donut shape, just be sure to use a donut cutter with the insert attached. Like this one.
For the record, I have no idea how to spell donuts. Is it donuts or doughnuts? I am spelling it the Dunkin’ Donuts way because as an East Coaster – those are the donuts I grew up on. Either way you spell them, donuts are darn good.
Cream Filled Doughnuts
- 1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 2/3 ounce (18 grams) fresh cake yeast
- 2/3 cup (160 grams) milk, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups (490 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups (270 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 eggs
- 7 tablespoons (3/4 stick/100 grams) butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- Canola oil, for frying
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, 1/3 cup (70 grams) of the sugar, the salt, and the eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further. Now, begin to add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and cohesive.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 15 hours.
Lightly flour a baking sheet. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy.
When ready to fry, line a tray or baking sheet large enough to hold the doughnuts with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To test the oil, throw in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. (It should be 350 degrees if you are using a thermometer.) Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown. Then gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the prepared tray and let cool for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
Place the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return it to the tray to cool completely. This will take 30 to 40 minutes.
To make the cream filling: whip the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold it into the pastry cream.
When doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each doughnut, spacing it equidistant between the top and bottom. Fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the bag with the filling. Squirt about 1/3 cup filling into each doughnut.
Eat with a napkin and make sure to share with others.